Leadership & Structure

 

Leadership Team

Behavioral Health Commissioner Dr. Morgan Medlock

Dr. Morgan Medlock, Commissioner

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Biography

Dr. Medlock was appointed the Behavioral Health Commissioner for the State of Colorado and a member of the Governor’s Cabinet in January 2022. An emergency psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist by training, Dr. Medlock previously served as the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Crisis and Emergency Services for the Washington, DC Department of Behavioral Health. She also served on the faculty of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior and Howard University College Of Medicine and has held a previous appointment as a Clinical Fellow in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Among her many leadership positions, Dr. Medlock served on the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities, including a term as Vice Chair from 2019-2020. She also participated in the District Of Columbia Hospital Association’s Opioid Taskforce, serving as Co-Chair from 2019-2020.

Dr. Medlock received her MPH from Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health, her MD from the Mayo Clinic School Of Medicine, her MDiv from Andrews University, and her BS from Oakwood University.

Summer Gathercole, Deputy Commissioner of Operations

Summer Gathercole, Deputy Commissioner, Operations

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Biography

Summer is passionate about Behavioral Health and the opportunity to engage the larger community to improve the system in Colorado. She brings an array of experiences and expertise that not only inform her ability to examine issues from a variety of perspectives but equip her to listen actively and attentively to the viewpoint of other stakeholders. Her years of experience spearheading philanthropic ventures have provided the tools and insights to effectively evaluate the current funding streams to examine and understand how the system can be more efficient and impactful. Facilitating last year's Steering Committee that recommended improvements to Colorado's crisis system increased the depth of her understanding of the complexities of the behavioral health system and the breadth of its stakeholders. She served as the first Project Manager for the Colorado Health Access Fund, which increases access to behavioral health care across the state.

Summer has worked in direct service as well as at the systems levels. She has a long history in workforce development and started out by providing training to individuals experiencing homelessness and economic insecurity to help prepare them for a job or career. She also established a regional collaboration of workforce development agencies and served as the Secretary of Labor for Washington, D.C. Upon moving to Colorado, she was engaged by the Colorado Workforce Development Council as well as a number of the workforce areas (57 of Colorado’s 64 counties) to offer workforce expertise. This wealth of knowledge and experience positions her well to integrate the input and expertise of individuals in care, providers and policy makers from across the state.

When Summer is not out and about saving the world, you can find her on the backpacking trails or off on an active adventure - hiking among polar bears or rafting down the Nile. Despite the great distances traveled for many of these adventures, friends tease her about being the unofficial spokeswoman for Colorado as demonstrated by her "Rocky Mountain High" ringtone. After living here for almost 9 years, she still exclaims to everyone who will listen what an amazing state we have!

Headshot of photo of smiling human in a knit black and white blazer with arms folder. The backdrop is green ivy. The headshot is of Jaimie Shaff with black eye glasses and hair in a low ponytail.

Jaimie Shaff, Deputy Commissioner, Equity and System Effectiveness

Pronouns: She/They

Biography

Jaimie Shaff arrives at the Behavioral Health Administration from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she served as an epidemiologist for the Department’s behavioral health portfolio and, most recently, as Chief Data Scientist for the COVID-19 response. Jaimie's work at the NYC Department of Health served to identify, amplify, and respond to health inequities in NYC using equity- and evidence-driven, community-centered public health interventions. Before serving at the Department of Health, Jaimie worked internationally for Doctors Without Borders and a number of other organizations in Nigeria, South Sudan, Pakistan, India, Tanzania, and Ghana. Jaimie remains connected to the humanitarian sector and was a founding member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council for Doctors Without Borders USA.

Jaimie holds a Master's in Public Administration from New York University's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, a Master’s in Public Health Epidemiology from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is a Doctor of Public Health candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For her work during the pandemic, Jaimie was recognized as one of the de Beaumont Foundation's 40 Under 40 in Public Health, appeared on Good Morning America's Asian American and Pacific Islander Inspiration List, and received the NYC[x] Tech & Innovation Mayoral Priority Award. Originally from Northern Nevada, Jaimie has a love for the outdoors and is an avid skier, climber, and hiker.

 

Andrew Rauch, Chief of Staff

Andrew Rauch, Chief of Staff

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Biography

Andrew is a creative problem solver and dedicated public servant. He joins the Behavioral Health Administration with a strong background in state government and policy. He thrives on solving complex problems through collaboration, relationship building, and strategic thinking.

Most recently, Andrew was the senior legislative and finance analyst for the Employment and Benefits Division at CDHS where he focused on strategy and finances for some of Colorado’s public assistance programs. He began his career working for the New Mexico Legislature before returning to his home state and joining the Colorado Department of Higher Education. During his time in higher education, Andrew focused on questions of affordability, funding, outcomes, and equity, and he believes firmly in the importance of designing policies that work for all Coloradans. He was recognized in 2018 as the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association David L. Wright Award winner for his exemplary dedication and work ethic.

Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from McDaniel College and a master’s degree in public policy from The College of William and Mary. Andrew loves to cook, and he believes food is the best way to connect to other people. When he’s not cooking, Andrew enjoys running, reading, and spending time with his wife and two dogs.

 

Elizabeth Townsend, Executive Assistant

Elizabeth Townsend, Executive Assistant

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Biography

Elizabeth joins the Behavioral Health Administration with over 20 years’ experience in comprehensive executive support. Her most recent role was in the Office of the CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) where she provided support to both the CEO and Board of Directors. During her time with the organization, a merger between CHI and Dignity Health was complete, forming the second-largest nonprofit hospital chain in the United States.

Focused on both operational efficiency and effectiveness while helping to promote the achievement of key goals and objectives, Elizabeth brings a strong track record of success. Working in a manner using best practices and overall business and system intelligence, she strives to deliver exceptional results to both her team and the organization.

Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in communications from Shepherd University in West Virginia. She is an avid genealogy researcher, award-winning photographer, and devoted Rockies fan.

 

Christine “Chris” Meyer, Senior Advisor, Children, Youth & Families

Christine “Chris” Meyer, Senior Advisor, Children, Youth & Families

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Biography

COACT Project Director, Christine "Chris" Meyer, MA, is devoted to supporting the System of Care Values and Principles throughout Colorado. Ms. Meyer has been the COACT Colorado Project Director since 2017. Prior to that, she was the Collaborative Management Program Specialist with the State of Colorado and a local Collaborative Management Program Coordinator in Douglas County. In both of these roles, she provided contract management, technical assistance, and oversight of programs for system-involved children and youth from diverse populations.

Ms. Meyer's work passions are to implement the National CLAS Standards in Colorado, champion and support the implementation, expansion and sustainability of High Fidelity Wraparound, and advocate for systems improvements for children, youth and families behavioral health services in the state.

 

Stephen Peng, Chief Financial Officer

Stephen Peng, Chief Financial Officer

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Biography

Stephen’s past professional experience has been in strategic financial and operational consulting for government clients across the country . He has led engagements involving large-scale Medicaid, Medicare and other public health programs pertaining to revenue optimization, cost reporting, rate setting, financial modeling, and program and systems implementation.

He has a wide range of transformational behavioral health finance experience established through work with inpatient psychiatric hospitals, community behavioral health providers, school-based providers, and behavioral health managed care plans. This has included working with Massachusetts behavioral health provider organizations and health plans to provide financial analysis and budgeting, in direct response to the Massachusetts Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program, as well as working with a county in California to develop cost-based inpatient psychiatric acute care rates and implement incentive-based behavioral health payment methodologies.

Stephen lived in Boston for several years and recently moved to Colorado, where he instantly knew this would be the long-term place for him. He is an avid snowboarder, hiker, camper, and outdoor enthusiast. Stephen is passionate about the public sector and public health. He is excited to be a part of the innovative Behavioral Health Administration and looking forward to working with everyone.

 

Ryan Templeton, Division Director, Policy and External Affairs

Ryan Templeton, Division Director, Policy and External Affairs

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Biography

After graduating with degrees in psychology and sociology from Concordia College, in Moorhead, MN, Ryan began his behavioral health career as a clinical case manager at the Mental Health Center of Denver. Ryan worked directly with individuals experiencing co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders as a Certified Addiction Specialist. The eight years of direct clinical services led Ryan to pursue opportunities to drive statewide behavioral health system changes. Since starting at the Colorado Department of Human Services in 2015, Ryan has authored over 25 regulatory changes, led the merger of involuntary substance use and alcohol use disorder laws and proposed, drafted, and advocated for numerous bills to support a behavioral health system in Colorado that is truly accessible for all.

Ryan is dedicated to ensuring that all people in Colorado have access and opportunity to participate and lead in the creation of a behavioral health system in Colorado that will be a national leader in innovative, accessible, and accountable behavioral health services.

 

Christen Lara, Director, Health Information Technology

Christen Lara, Director, Health Information Technology

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Biography

Christen Lara serves as the Behavioral Health Administration's Health Information Technology Director. In this role, she guides how the state uses technology to enable and accelerate behavioral health system reform. Prior to joining the BHA, she spent over a decade at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment where she oversaw the department's public health technology portfolio and led the development, implementation, and support of multiple public health information systems. She has deep experience optimizing the intersection between public health and health care through technology, including facilitating use of population-level data for improved statewide decision-making.

Christen is passionate about public service and has a special knack for building teams, bridges between unlikely partners, systems that represent meaningful change to the people of Colorado. Originally from Tennessee, Christen moved to Colorado to earn her BA in economics and anthropology from Colorado College, and she has been in the state ever since.

 

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We are continuing to hire behavioral health leaders as we expand and bring new expertise to the BHA team. Please visit the Careers page to see the latest job postings.

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Structure

The BHA is and is designed to be the single entity responsible for creating a coordinated, cohesive, and effective behavioral health system in the state. The BHA is led by a Cabinet Level Commissioner with six internal divisions. The BHA is a model of networked government, grounded in a people-first approach. The BHA Advisory Council (BHAAAC) is a central part of the BHA governance model and brings the voice of individuals, family members, providers, local government and other sectors and subject matter experts to inform the BHA. The BHA also works hand in hand with the Cabinet to ensure a seamless and connected approach to behavioral health in Colorado.

The BHA officially launched July 1, 2022. Per legislation, the BHA has two years to build full functional capacity and operations. The BHA is currently operating within the Colorado Department of Human Services until a permanent location is determined by the General Assembly on or before November 1, 2024. Ultimately, the BHA will have approximately 180 staff across its six divisions. The divisions will administer statewide behavioral health programs such as crisis and care coordination as well as programs funded through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other state funds. The BHA divisions will also be responsible for cross-agency and cross-sector strategic planning and support to create a coordinated behavioral health system.

The Behavioral Health Administration currently contracts with 18 community mental health centers (CMHCs) for the provision of mental health treatment services to individuals and families are low-income or not covered by insurance throughout Colorado. Visit the CMHC web page for more information.

The Behavioral Health Administration currently contracts with Administrative Services Organizations (ASOs) to provide a network of walk-in crisis centers, crisis stabilization centers and respite and mobile crisis services in their regions. See the map on this page.

The Behavioral Health Administration contracts with Managed Service Organizations (MSOs) to manage and monitor substance abuse treatment services for adults and adolescents who are uninsured or under-insured in seven state Sub-State Planning Areas (SSPA). These include: involuntary commitment ,medication-assisted treatment and overdose prevention programs, offender treatment services, Strategic Individualized Remediation Treatment (STIRT) and opioid treatment programs, outpatient and residential treatment services, withdrawal management services, women's treatment services, and the community-based Circle Program. See the map on this page.

As outlined in Colorado ​House Bill 22-1278 the BHA will consolidate the Administrative Services Organizations (ASO) and Managed Service Organizations (MSO) structure into regional intermediaries that are responsible for the provider network of mental health, substance use and crisis services, and for care coordination. These regional intermediaries will be known as Behavioral Health Administrative Service Organizations (BHASO), and will be contracted by the Behavioral Health Administration.